Submitted by Peg Doman
Janet Runbeck RN, MN was awarded the Nurse of the Year Award by the Rainier Olympic Nurses Association. It is given annually as recognition of an outstanding nurse within the Association.
Runbeck graduated from the Tacoma General Nursing School and has been active ever since. She has been a volunteer for the Pierce County Health Department, doing such tasks as inoculations in schools and clinics and annual counts of homeless individuals not in shelters.
She and her husband Mike Mowatt were instrumental in organizing and managing Homeless Connect for two years. Homeless Connect served the Pierce County resident homeless population by pulling together health providers who offered services including podiatry, and dental care, as well as the government and private community support services, all in one place ? the Tacoma Dome. They were weekend events and served more than a thousand Tacoma-Pierce County residents over the two years.
Janet and Mike also were the driving forces in organizing and managing the Rotary Club of Tacoma # 8 Rotocare Clinic which offered health services to individuals with chronic health issues who did not have health insurance or only inadequate insurance, to make sure that they were monitored regularly. The clinic operated once a month at a donated space on the Pacific Lutheran University campus for two years. The boast was that not one of their patients died and all had adequate and consistent health services at the closure.
They are also members of the Emergency Medical Corp.
The Rainier Olympic Nurses Association is a 501(c)3 professional association that has been supporting Pierce County nurses for over 110 years. It was founded in 1909 as the Graduate Nurses Association. In 2019, it expanded and integrated with other nurses’ associations across the Olympic Peninsula and in 2020, became known as the Rainier Olympic Nurses Association. It supports nurses in not only Pierce County but also in Thurston, Mason, Grays Harbor, Kitsap, Clallam and Jefferson counties. Currently, the membership has more than 3,300 members.
They offer continuing education events for nurses, raise funds and provide scholarships to nursing students to support the next generation of nurses as well as to nurses who are continuing their education, promote nursing a profession and celebrate and honor nurses in the community.
The association headquarters is at 222 Tacoma Avenue South, Tacoma WA 98402; phone ? 253-572-7337. They are also on Facebook. The association website is rainierolympicnurses.org.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.